INSIDE THE STUDIO OF NEW YORK ARTIST KARIN HAAS
The vibe at mixed-media artist Karin Haas’s UES home studio is warm, minimal, casual, and playful, much like the works that make up the Milwaukee-bred artist’s creative practice—works that in 2015 were the subject of a solo show at 315 Gallery in New York, and which have appeared in countless group shows nationally. Spiral-bound notebooks, pastels, pencils, drawing chalk, and rulers splay across a large, wooden studio desk—a hand-me-down from friends who moved to LA—and onto the walls, finished works in shades of pastel marked by distinct, organic lines have been taped in a row, giving the room the feel of an informal gallery.
Along a side wall, a chrome and powder-coated steel modular bookcase by USM (customized by Haas to fit the space) houses an arsenal of horizontally stacked art books and magazines, alongside a collection of objects—the Tip of the Tongue pedestal table light designed by Michael Anastassiades, the marble egg by jewelry designer Sophie Buhai, and a small glass knot by BIDKhome—displaying a penchant for graphic, sculptural shapes. And then there is Haas herself—tall, slender, refined, and right at home in her creative environment. Here, Haas offers a glimpse into her life as both artist and New York local.
What does the start of your day look like?
Karin Haas: My schedule revolves around deadlines, and so each day is different. I am up by 7am and head over to Little Collins for a cappuccino. My go-to breakfast is warm bread with honey; or avocado, lemon, and pepper, and cut cantaloupe and honeydew on the side. After breakfast I meditate, which helps balance my day and is a nice way to relieve stress. If I have some extra time in the morning, I like to take a short run through Central Park and then meet friends downtown at Jack’s Wife Freda for breakfast.
Do you have a favorite spot for an after-work drink?
KH: Lately my husband James and I have been enjoying Kiki’s and then getting a drink wherever our family or friends takes us. If I decide to stay Uptown, I will get a glass of wine at La Mangeoire or Monkey Bar.
In what ways does living in New York inform your artistic style and aesthetic, if at all?
KH: My work has always been a reflection of my surroundings. Living in NYC, I am strongly inspired by its architecture and geometric surfaces of stone, marble, terrazzo, and tiled patterns. This city is very colorful and has influenced me to choose colors in my work more freely and to not overthink it.
What materials do you work with? Is there an art supply store in New York that you frequent?
KH: I mostly draw with colored pencils or dry pastels on large sheets of colored paper. Lately, I have been frequenting The Compleat Sculptor and Home Depot because I am working on a few new sculptures at the moment.
What else are you working on at the moment?
KH: I am always drawing, and currently I have works on view at The Primary Essentials (NYC) and JF Chen (LA).
Could you tell us about the most interesting creative project you’ve worked on recently? Who was it with? How did you meet? What did you create?
KH: My recent collaboration with Paloma Wool. PW reached out to me directly to inquire about collaborating and suggested I make a large drawing that would later be printed on a limited-edition silk scarf. I was already a fan of PW and was excited to get started on the project. We talked further about color and composition, but I was given creative freedom with the design. It was incredible to see the completed scarf, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to collaborate with the brand.
Where do you go to get your art fix?
KH: One of many places I like to go to clear my head is the Museum of Modern Art; it is only four blocks from my apartment.
And lastly, are there any exhibitions currently taking place in New York that you are itching to see?
KH: Speaking of the MoMA, I plan to check out the Tarsila do Amaral exhibition this week.
Words Edwina Hagon
Photography Sally Griffiths